This show opened with the central clown suspended from the top like he had a parachute mishap. He was surrounded by a field of traditional marigold flowers. When he landed, it transformed into a scene with a butterfly dancer with wings that spread out past the width of the stage. She runs while the stage rotates around with a metallic horse puppeteered by several performers behind her. The giant round disk is a constant symbol for many things like the Aztec calendar, sunset, moon or film reel.
Both set designer Eugenio Caballero and costume designer Giovanna Buzzi were careful not to appropriate the culture directly and settle for stereotypes. They changed up the color palettes, from monochrome to super bright. They brought in animal motifs. There was a giant Papel Picado cylinder acting as a patterned veil, playing with the scale of what is usually a delicate paper party decoration. My favorite costume was the diva's dress of white and red flowers. The designers used innovative tech, the almost 100 flowers open and close as she sings, attached to individual little motors.
The show is the most beautiful performance art of intricate choreography and design. It is merely a bonus that the cast performs feats of physical wonders. There was one contortionist that was so flexible that he left the audience white-knuckled in their seats.
The other major theme and design element was the use of rain and water. The downpour was used for dramatic effect in several acts both for humor and stunning visual effect. With tricks of lighting, it looks like the tent was raining all sorts of symbols and narratives into the stage. There was a tiny pool in the middle in some acts to represent Mexican cenotes. The pool was used to very sexy effect with the long-haired, shirtless aerialist who swung his hair through the water as he dipped and soared through the air.
I have been a fan of Cirque du Soleil for over 20 years. I have attended a different production almost every year as a cherished family outing. Every year I think that yes, it will be gorgeous, but they can't possibly surprise me. Every single year I am wrong. The set design, production, and costumes of LUZIA blew me away and had left me with tons of inspiration.
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